Category News

How the super rich are saving the seas

Sea Keepers Discovery yachts

It may be a magnet for ocean-going excess, but the Monaco Yacht Show is becoming an increasingly precious jewel in the fight to save our seas. The luxury shop window for mega yachts and boating bling opens with a glitzy gala dinner and charity auction, which raised more than $27 million for marine conservation projects carried out by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

The A-list guests, including Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Adrien Brody and a host of Victoria’s Secret models dressed in dazzling gowns and diamonds, bid on lots ranging from the world’s first luxury electric powerboat to horseback riding with Madonna. On online auction will remain open until December.

But why are the super rich so keen to save the seas?

‘The ocean is their playground’

Environmentalist and explorer Emil...

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International Science Report Foresees Mass “Die-Off” of Coral Reefs by 2040

Coral bleaching caused by climate change

A new United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a dire picture, writes Coral Davenport in the New York Times. The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), minces few words, describing “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires” resulting from continued climate change. The report also indicates that, given current trends, a mass “die-off” of coral reefs by 2040 is highly likely.

The challenge facing the world is daunting. As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis write in the Washington Post, to avoid these kinds of outcomes “would mean that, in a world projected to have more than two billion additional people by 2050, large swaths of land currently used to produce food would instead have to be converted to growing trees tha...

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Teaching coral to toughen up could help reefs survive climate change

Diver photographing a coral reef

As the world’s oceans continue to warm, coral reefs are struggling to survive. In recent years large swaths of some of the world’s biggest and best known reefs have died, and a recent UN report maintains that the reefs could “cease to exist as functioning coral reef ecosystems by the end of this century” unless steps are taking to protect them.

But scientists are stepping in to help. From floating chemical “sunscreens” to reef-patrolling robots, they’re developing all sorts of strategies and devices to help coral. In one of the most promising approaches, researchers are looking for ways to accelerate the pace at which corals adapt to warmer seas — so they can survive rather than succumb.

It’s too soon to know whether this approach will work...

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Why have so many deep water whales washed ashore in Scotland?

Scientists are investigating why around 70 deep water whales have washed up on Scottish and Irish beaches since the beginning of August.Cuvier’s beaked whales are normally found in the deep waters of the Atlantic.

They are among the deepest diving whales on the planet and have the ability to dive to depths of up to two miles for upwards of an hour at a time.

They are particularly sensitive to sound, prompting some to question if sonar or another military exercise has caused the issue.

Source

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IPCC: Climate scientists consider ‘life changing’ report

Intergovernmental panel on climate change

It is likely to be the most critical and controversial report on climate change in recent years. Leading scientists are meeting in South Korea this week to see if global temperatures can be kept from rising by more than 1.5C this century. The world has already passed one degree of warming as carbon emissions have ballooned since the 1850s.

Many low-lying countries say they may disappear under the sea if the 1.5C limit is breached.

After a week of deliberations in the city of Incheon, the researchers’ new report is likely to say that keeping below this limit will require urgent and dramatic action from governments and individuals alike.

One scientist told BBC News that our lives would never be the same if the world changed course to stay under 1.5C.

The new study is being produced by the ...

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Scientists To Restore The Great Barrier Reef Using Electricity

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia

An environmental group is planning on using electricity to restore the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, which is known to be affected by climate change. The electricity is expected to speed up coral growth, preventing the coral bleaching caused by warming ocean temperatures.

The group is called Reef Ecologic, and it wants to start a trial to see how the technique works on the Great Barrier Reef’s coral, reports New Scientist. The group plans to use steel frames to contain the electricity and simulate coral growth. The process of “regrowing” coral is incredibly slow and could take decades to restore naturally, so the new approach using electricity speeds up the process.

This is not a new idea...

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Scientists search for coral’s new home

diagram

Coral reefs have long faced problems like overfishing, global warming and pollution—but they’re also threatened by how slow they regenerate. To reproduce, coral release sperm and eggs and form larvae, which then swim around and attach to a surface, where they begin to develop into coral polyps and grow. They face a variety of competitors, and most don’t survive. If they do survive, it takes years for the coral to be able to reproduce, and even longer for entire reefs to form.

Researchers at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) at the University of Illinois want to increase the rate of coral regeneration by creating a new home for coral larvae: artificial structures that encourage larvae settlement and discourage the growth of competitor species.

The research will be led...

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Jellyfish robots to watch over endangered coral reefs

The robotic jellyfish propel themselves with rubber tentacles

A fleet of robotic jellyfish has been designed to monitor delicate ecosystems, including coral reefs. The underwater drones were invented by engineers at Florida Atlantic University and are driven by rings of hydraulic tentacles. The robots can squeeze through tight holes without causing damage.

One expert praised the design but warned that the man-made jellyfish might be eaten by turtles.

The flexible, 20cm-wide bots are modelled on the appearance of the moon jellyfish during its larval stage.

The design is intended to be less environmentally disruptive than a drone submarine, according to Prof Erik Engeberg, of Florida Atlantic University.

“Mini-submarines are rigid and typically use a propeller for locomotion,” he said...

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What did the dolphin say to the porpoise?

Dolphin and porpoise communicating via high pitched clicks

A dolphin in Scotland’s Firth of Clyde may be exchanging messages with porpoises. The dolphin, named Kylie, usually makes clicking sounds with a frequency of around 100KHz. But after interacting with a group of local porpoises he changed his tune. Research from the University of Strathclyde found that Kylie’s clicking became higher than normal, and closer to that of his new found friends, who generally make sounds at 130KHz.

He has made his home around a navigational buoy between Fairlie and the Isle of Cumbrae, in western Scotland.

University of Strathclyde PhD student Mel Cosentino has been analysing the sounds.

“We have some more recording to do with Kylie when he is on his own and when he is with the group of porpoises,” she said.

“We want to see whether he is imitating the porpoise...

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‘Climate change moving faster than we are…’

UN Secretary General

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that if the world doesn’t change course by 2020, we run the risk of runaway climate change. Mr Guterres said he was alarmed by the paralysis of world leaders on what he called the “defining issue” of our time.

He wants heads of government to come to New York for a special climate conference next September. The call comes amid growing concerns over the slow pace of UN negotiations.

Mr Guterres painted a grim picture of the impacts of climate change that he says have been felt all over the world this year, with heatwaves, wildfires, storms and floods leaving a trail of destruction.
Corals are dying, he said, the oceans are becoming more acidic, and there are growing conflicts over dwindling resources.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmo...

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